Why we’re returning £5.5m Abacha loot to Nigeria – Irish Govt

The Irish Government has said that the decision to return £5.5 million looted by the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, was achieved through multi-agency collaboration.

It followed an application by the Nigerian authorities last year, the High Court recently made an order providing for the return of these assets to Nigeria.

The revelation by the Ireland Ministry of Justice and Equality followed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with the Federal Government.

The Ireland Ministry of Justice and Equality in a statement on its website quoted the Ireland Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee TD to have said: “This very welcome outcome has been achieved by significant multi-agency collaboration in Ireland. In addition to the work of the CAB and my own department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has worked closely with the authorities in Nigeria in relation to this matter. I want to congratulate all those who worked towards achieving the conclusion of this memorandum. It demonstrates the intent of both states to uphold our shared values and our international obligations to eliminate corruption.”

In the statement, the Irish Government also recalled the process leading to the decision to return the loot.

“On foot of an order of the High Court on 15 June last, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee TD, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Republic of Nigeria to facilitate the return of funds misappropriated by the late former Nigerian President, General Sani Abacha.”

McEntee had said: “I am very pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding between Ireland and Nigeria. This represents the culmination of a long process, which began with an internationally led investigation. The Criminal Assets Bureau took part in this international operation which led to the freezing of over $1 billion in funds worldwide, of which approximately €5.5 million was identified in a Dublin based bank account.”

The Government of Ireland also said the assets misappropriated by Abacha were frozen in a bank account in Ireland by the Criminal Assets Bureau in October 2014.


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